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What to Expect from Social Media Courses

Web Bureau

16 September 2010 by Web Bureau

These days there’s a general sense that if a business hasn’t developed a strong networking presence through social media they’re missing a trick or two and in danger of lagging behind their competitors.

Trying to engage with the masses through sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be a bewildering experience for professionals who have never used them on a more personal basis. But at the same time, delegating the job to an in-house specialist or department has left many a competent business person feeling out of the loop.

Here’s where the social media experts step in offering courses that promise to help people make the most of their online presence. And Northern Ireland is no exception.

As with any subject, a suitable course may depend on variables such as whether you are willing to pay or travel, but there are plenty of great free events coming up across Northern Ireland. Showcase in Derry/Londonderry in September and Bizcamp in November in Belfast are free digital industry and business conferences that both include talks on social media, and there are many more.

A talk is all very well but what about a complete course dedicated to social media? What are the benefits, topic s and objectives?  Of course each will vary, but as a very rough guideline, here are some aspects you might expect to cover:

  • How to plan your social media strategy and make it fit in with other marketing disciplines.
  • How to encourage interaction. Internet users tend to fall into three categories: spectators, occasional participants and heavy contributors. The final group are the most desirable as they comment frequently and are more likely to retweet or repost your messages to a wider audience.
  • How to hold onto or reward the heavy contributors, encouraging them to engage in positive conversations with other internet users about your brand, helping to build your reputation.
  • How to attract more readers or followers by providing information relevant to your sector but not restricted to your business. Visitors to your website or profile page are more likely to return regularly and interact if they consider you as a source of information rather than simply a brochure for your own products or services.
  • How to deal with negative feedback and comments. Allowing readers to comment can encourage interaction but may be risky. Some courses offer advice on how to deal with negative comments without ignoring them or exacerbating a situation that could potentially harm your company’s reputation.

Of course this all comes back to the understanding that the internet is a fantastic place to network and, if you are looking for advice on how to use social media, chatting to fellow business people on forums may be a more rewarding place to start than training sessions.


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